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Google shuts down dozens of Iranian government-affiliated accounts

Google says it removed 39 Iran-linked YouTube channels and 13 Google+ accounts
Google has engaged cyber-security firm FireEye to provide it with intelligence (Reuters)

Alphabet's Google said on Thursday it had identified and terminated 39 YouTube channels linked to state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting.

Google also removed six blogs on Blogger and 13 Google+ accounts.

“In recent months, we’ve detected and blocked attempts by state-sponsored actors in various countries to target political campaigns, journalists, activists, and academics located around the world,” Google said in a blog post.

“Our technical research has identified evidence that these actors are associated with the IRIB, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting,” Google added.

On Tuesday, Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet collectively removed hundreds of accounts tied to an alleged Iranian propaganda operation.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said: "We believe these pages, groups and accounts were part of two sets of campaigns. 

"First a set of activity from Iran, including some with ties to state-owned media, and second a set of activity that the US government and others have publicly linked to Russian military intelligence services," he added.

Google, which has engaged cyber-security firm FireEye to provide it with intelligence, said it has detected and blocked attempts by "state-sponsored actors" in recent months.

FireEye said it suspected an "influence operation" that appears to originate from Iran, aimed at audiences in the United States, the UK, Latin America, and the Middle East.

Shares of FireEye rose as much as 10 percent to $16.38 after Google identified the company as a consultant.

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